Published: Tuesday, 12 September 2017

The regatta hosted out of the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court continues until Sep 16.

Rolex Nyyc Invitational Cup Continues 1

(Photos: New York Yacht Club)

The first European winning team on the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, the Royal Thames Yacht Club, will start with a target on their backs as the team to beat.

"I think it would be very ungentlemanly not to return to defend the title of such a prestigious event," says skipper John Greenland.

"The New York Yacht Club has become my second home. I’ve probably raced in the Narangansett Bay area more than I’ve raced in the Solent [in England] in the last five years."

Two teams will bring some Olympic flavour to the competition. Amanda Clark, the tactician for Shelter Island Yacht Club, and John Lovell, the tactician for Southern Yacht Club, have between them sailed in six Olympic regattas.

Lovell also won a silver medal in the Tornado in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. "I have always been honoured to represent Southern Yacht Club," says Lovell, a native of New Orleans, "and I am happy that [skipper] Marcus Eagan asked me to race with the team."

Competitors in the Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup are free to select their own sails, equipment, and rig tune, among other things. Identical sails and equipment are provided to each team and the rig tune is standardised across the fleet.

Rolex Nyyc Invitational Cup Continues 2

(New York Yacht Club)

This is the fifth edition of the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup, which runs every other year by the New York Yacht Club. Teams representing 43 yacht clubs from 21 countries, and all six inhabited continents, have competed in the event.

In 2017, three NYYC teams competed across two regattas for the right to represent the Club. John Hele and the Daring team, including former J/24 world champion Brad Read, won the right to race under the Club's burgee. 

This will be Hele's first time as a skipper in the event, but he has raced the four previous events as the tactician for the Royal Canadian Yacht Club team, winning in 2011 and 2013.

Two Asian teams competing in the 2017 Rolex NYYC Invitational Cup, the Japan Sailing Federation and the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, have sailed in each of the previous four events and both are back for a fifth go.

The Japanese team finished third in the inaugural event, sixth in the next two and fifth in 2015.